Scott talks to Wambui Njuguna-Räisänen on her life in yoga.
An up and coming wellness advocate, Wambui has a blend of formal Ashtanga yoga training, Chavutti Thirumal (massage by foot press) and life experience that gives her a unique ability to see and hear those around her in a way that is tender, gentle and real.
Wambui started practicing Ashtanga yoga in 2008 and began assisting Petri Räisänen, who is also her husband, in 2010. She received her Chavutti Thirumal massage training in 2013 from Helen Noakes and Indian head massage training from Terry Thomas in 2019. Wambui combines various healing modalities into her treatments, such as Finnish jäsenkorjaus (bone setting), fascial release, breath work to create customised and highly individualised healing sessions for the client.
She aspires to be as human as possible in her teachings and both works and lives from a place of compassion and authenticity. As such, she strives to create spaces in the wellness and spiritual culture where tough, tender conversations can be had with brave truth-telling and equanimity. Where topics such as racism and cultural appropriation can be addressed without resorting to spiritual bypass and denial.
It is her greatest aspiration that liberation and awakening can be embodied not only on the individual level but on the collective plane as well; so that we may work to furthering a world based on the tenets of justice, safety and love for all.
You can find more about Wambui’s work here.
Wambui also shares widely on her Instagram page here.
_____________Reclaiming Joy Through Heartbreak - Wambui Njuguna-Räisänen
Scott and Wambui have a deeply open and honest conversation on diversity in the yoga world. Scott and Wambui met when Wambui emailed Scott about his work with Amāyu. Since then they have shared conversations on diversity and how the Ashtanga yoga world can become more open to wider voices. Wambui also shares her evolution from yoga practitioner to teacher to activist.
In this intimate conversation Wambui shares:How yoga has always been a contemplative practice for her, right from the beginning, in a deeply embodied somatic way Her background in dance, and the experience of taking her first Hatha yoga class while having a tough year training in modern dance at university That yoga let her discover a deep intuitive knowing that she was enough, just as she is, and that the body is not something to be conquered Her experience of practicing yoga during her time at grad school in Chicago, and how she didn’t feel comfortable identifying herself as a yogi during that time as a result of the monocultural white yoga culture How she found community with black and brown people through Capoeira, Samba, and Afro-Brazillian dancing, a culture that wasn’t present in yoga spaces. Her experience of moving to the UAE as an English teacher, and hitting rock bottom while she was there. How she had her first experience of Ashtanga yoga while working in Abu Dhabi, and how empowering she found her gradual immersion into the practice How in 2009 she studied Ashtanga intensively, travelling to Purple Valley in February to study with Nancy Gilgoff and her now-partnerPetri Räisänen, then to Mysore in July to study with Saraswati, and then practicing with Sharath in Helsinki in August. Her experience moving to Helsinki in January 2010 Her calling to teach, which developed into teaching yoga with her partner Petri Her experience navigating yoga spaces as a multiracial black woman How yoga spaces operate on assumed white norms How she had to silence parts of herself in the past, and how she will not be silent any more How in 2015 her friend Rosalie bought her This Bridge Called My Back (Rosario Moraleas) and Sister Outsider (Audre Lorde), which led her to really consider who is on her bookshelf, and make a conscious effort to seek out community with people of colour in Helsinki. How the tools we develop in yoga practice can be valuable as self care when navigating difficult topics The work that the Ashtanga world needs to do in terms of understanding and countering cultural appropriation, and the need for nuanced discussion with South Asian voices leading Spiritual bypassing within the yoga community, when kindness becomes weaponised The fragmentary effect of Colonialism in separating people from themselves and their history, and how and why it is important for everyone to learn where they come from Ahimsa as an ongoing process rather than a fixed goal How privilege doesn’t need to be something to be ashamed of, but does need to be leveraged effectively How she came to study Buddhism with black African teachers such as Lama Rod Owens Her resonance with Bodhisattva aspiration of collective liberation, and why the prevalent emphasis on samadhi as self-realisation is incomplete Karen Rain’s 2017 statement on decades of systemic abuse within the Ashtanga Yoga community, and how unprepared the community was to address it in a productive way due to dynamics of power and privilege The limits and dangers of the authority model of teaching and how it is healthier to think on collective level The need for a trauma informed approach to teaching yoga The importance of accountability How yoga isn’t separate from the patriarchy and its harmful traits of toxic masculinity, victim blaming and rape culture. How an element of joy is important when undertaking the difficult work of decolonising one's own mind Her hope that that white people can begin to unpack things for themselves, because black people are exhausted That for her, living a contemplative life means making space for her heart to break, making space for discomfort and pain without pushing it away or making it bigger, but being open to what it can teach about being a human in this here and now. The importance of friendship across lines of difference so that people can feel held, seen, cared for and trusted.
'In all the Stillpoints conversations I really love seeing our guests open up. But Wambui's honesty and vulnerability really inspired me. I loved this deeply profound and meaningful conversation and think it's an essential listening for everyone interested in equality in yoga.'
Scott Johnson - June 2020
Scott talks to his good friend and fellow yoga teacher Zephyr Wildman...
Originally from Idaho, Zephyr Wildman is one of London's most well loved and highly regarded yoga teachers. Yoga and the Twelve Step recovery programme have supported her during difficult times, and Zephyr now works closely with treatment centres for addiction, depression and other dependency problems, sharing therapeutic practices with her students.
You can watch Zephyr’s Stillpoint Online ‘Yoga for Anxiety’ workshop here.
You can find more about Zephyr’s work here.
Zephyr also shares widely on her Instagram page here.
_____________Yoga and Recovery - Zephyr Wildman
Scott and Zephyr first met at the London Yoga Festival in 2019 and have been friends ever since. This deeply engaging and honest conversation goes deep into the practices of yoga and how it can help recovery from addiction and grief. Zephyr shares a deeply moving account of her life in recovery from an addictive partner, who subsequently and tragically passed away, and how yoga helped her. Her wisdom as a result shines through. Scott and Zephyr also share meaningful words about how they both have been affected by familial alcohol and drug addiction, and how contemplative practice and conversations like these help to gently change in the deep internal narratives they have.
In this heartfelt conversation Zephyr shares:How yoga became a contemplative practice for her. How asana practice helped her to heal physically, and how following the Twelve Step programme at the same time allowed her to heal emotionally, mentally and spiritually. What she’s learned from studying with Richard Freeman about the philosophical and psychological maps provided by the yoga traditions, and how we can use these to find our way back to ourselves. Her journey into teaching yoga, which began by covering for her teacher at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill. Her initial resistance to becoming a yoga teacher, before finding her calling to serve others. How you can be ‘in recovery’ as a response to someone else’s addiction. The parallels between the Twelve Step programme and yoga. Her experience of moving from Idaho to London aged 19. Her relationship with her former husband, and how yoga and the Twelve Step recovery programme supported her when she lost him to cancer. The healing power of talking and sharing, and healing through relationship with others. The importance of being seen and feeling safe as part of a sangha (community). How the practice of Ashtanga can act as a mirror. Her understanding of addiction as a symptom of an unmet spiritual need for connection. How brain structure and chemistry reinforces addictive habits, and how these neurological loops relate to the work we do in asana practice. The relationship between the Twelve Step program and the Seven Steps of Yoga in the Yoga Sutras (2:77). What it means to her to live contemplative life.
‘Zephyr is one of the most inspiring yoga teachers I’ve met. Her inquiry into practice comes from her having to deal with her own trauma and grief regarding addiction and loss. This conversion is one of the most meaningful I’ve had because I relate deeply to a lot of what Zephyr shares’
Scott Johnson - May 2020
- #014: Mark Robberds
Scott talks to Mark Robberds, a friend, senior Ashtanga yoga teacher and movement educator.
Mark Robberds has been practicing yoga since 1997. He is one of the few people to be certified to teach Ashtanga Yoga by KPJAYI. Over the years he has become one of the leading figures of movement in yoga culture, pushing the boundaries around how yoga and movement can interrelate.
Mark now lives in Bali with his wife Deepika Mehta where they teach Ashtanga yoga and movement intensives. You can find more here.
Mark also shares widely on his Instagram page here.
________________Into The Unknown - Mark Robberds
Scott and Mark have been friends since 2018. This engaging, warm and beautiful conversation covers the span of Mark's life as a practitioner and teacher. Over the years Mark has taken leaps of faith and stepped into the unknown. He's had times when he's had to step back but his path has always been one of evolution. In the podcast Mark shares the choices and directions he has made that has turned him into the teacher and pioneering educator he is now.
In this conversation Mark shares how:the experience of yoga first evolved in his life. his mum introduced him to Christian philosophy as a child. from a young age he had a philosophical outlook on the world. he reinvented himself aged twenty one by going travelling. his mum introduced him to yoga when he returned. he met his first teacher Nicky Knoff, who introduced him to Ashtanga yoga. he recovered from Dengue Fever through practicing yoga, which changed his mindset. he went back to Sydney and practiced at Yoga Moves with senior teacher Eileen Hall. he travelled to India for the first time and headed north, before travelling to Mysore to study with Pattabhi Jois. his experience of practicing in Mysore for the first month was. after leaving Mysore he had a cathartic experience and had to go back to Sydney. he apprenticed at Yoga Moves, which really helped him become part of the Ashtanga yoga community. he returned to Mysore to study at KPJAYI while continuing to learn from Eileen, which propelled his learning. in the early 2000’s he started practicing at Yoga Synergy with Simon Borg Olivier, seeing a lot of benefits to his teaching. he was exposed to the teachings of legendary teacher Shandor Remete. Clive Sheridan became a great influence in his life, his approach to yoga and Ashtanga yoga practice. he studied yoga philosophy in Mysore with Professor Nagaraj Rao in 2005 he sold everything to go away and discover himself. the book The Artist’s Way changed his life. he went to South America, where plant medicine helped him to clarify his direction and identity. in 2015 he discovered Instagram and Ido Portal, who had a deep impact on him. Richard Freeman influenced him. how he had to break away from the yoga practice to bring it back. his next journey is fatherhood. it is for him to live a contemplative life.
Mentioned in the Podcast:
'Mark's story is one of a 23 year movement of self discovery. He has never rested on his laurels and once he knew yoga was the path for him he set his focus on going deep. That his destiny was to just discover life unfolding. This conversation really teases out how going into the unknown can be a deep way of discovering where we can find our true path'
Scott Johnson - April 2020
Scott talks to Deepika Mehta, a friend and fellow long term practitioner and teacher of Ashtanga yoga.
Deepika has been practicing yoga for over 20 years, where she used the tools of yoga to heal from a devastating climbing accident. Since then she has thrived, studying the Sivananda and Ashtanga yoga traditions and becoming an Authorised Level 2 teacher, from her teacher Sharath Jois, in the latter. She currently runs highly regarded retreats and intensives around the world with her co-teacher and husband, Mark Robberds.
You can find out more about Deepika here
_____________Movement into Stillness - Deepika Mehta
Scott and Deepika have known each other since March 2019, where they met at the Ashtanga Yoga Bali Conference. They bonded over a love of music, both touched by how music has affected and driven their lives. They recorded this interview while both teaching in Goa in November 2019.
In a beautifully honest and open interview Deepika shares:how movement has been an intrinsic part of the way she understands her life and how yoga is a deeply spiritual part of her life. how she found yoga after a life threatening accident and how her recovery was the jumping off point to yoga becoming a central part of her life. beautifully honest comparisons between who she is now and growing up in India as a young girl. how prayer has been a deep part of her life since she was a young girl how her grandfather was a yogi. how she discovered Sivananda yoga. That was her way into yoga practice. how intimidated, challenging and out of place she first found the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore (now SYC). how Ashtanga yoga became an expression of spirituality for her. how she has a deep love for her teacher Sharath Jois and what he brings as a yoga teacher. how she has developed herself as a teacher over the years the way practice can become effortless. A stillness. how body skills and training the body is pointing back to our personal sadhana. how physical practice and movement is a meditation for her. how movement and dance have been deeply spiritual for her. how she teaches new students who have just started yoga. how she steps out of her own way when she is practicing and teaching. how she stays inspired every day. what she has learnt over the years of practice. what it means to live a contemplative life.
'Deepika is a highly inspiring woman. She has had to overcome a deeply personal trauma in her younger years that has now transformed the way she lives her life, and practices and teaches yoga. Deepikas story shows how you can find an inner resolve through movement and by finding the courage to turn inwards.
Scott Johnson - April 2020
If you enjoy this podcast then also listen to Scott’s conversation with Caroline Taylor who has a beautiful story about how yoga transformed her life.
- #012: Dr Matthew Clark
Scott talks to Dr Matthew Clark, a long term yoga practitioner, philosophy teacher and academic.
Since 2004, Dr. Matthew Clark has been a Research Associate at SOAS, University of London. He is one of the administrators of the SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies in London and is one of the editors of the Journal of Yoga Studies.
His publications include:The Daśanāmī-Saṃnyāsīs: The Integration of Ascetic Lineages into an Order (2006), which is a study of a sect of sādhus; The Tawny One: Soma, Haoma and Ayahuasca (2017), which is an exploration of the use of psychedelic plant concoctions in ancient Asia and Greece; The Origins and Practices of Yoga: A Weeny Introduction (revised edition) (2018).
You can find more about Matthew’s work here.
_____________A Naturally Sceptical Mind - Dr Matthew Clark
Scott and Matthew have know each other for over 15 years. Scott first met Mathew 15 or so years ago where Scott hosted Matthew for a workshop on Sadhus. Scott saw in Matthew a deep knowledge yet a deeply open outlook.
Scott and Matthew spoke in November 2019 was Matthew's home in Brighton. They have a wide ranging conversation on Matthew's life as yoga practitioner, researcher and academic.
Matthew shares openly has way in to yoga and contemplative practice in the early 1970s through hallucinogens, how his inquisitiveness led him to India to study with many gurus and was sceptical of all of them, how he moved into academia to research yoga history and philosophy and now how his life's work has turned into the study of Soma, a deity and ritual drink that dates back to the Rig Veda.
In this conversation Matthew talks openly about hallucinogenics and plant medicine. While always taking incredible care when taking decisions ingesting anything that changes the way you see the world, Matthew explains in detail the context these drinks and potions were taken in relation to the ancient vedic tradition of ritual.
'Matthew is such a rich source of personal experience and academic knowledge. He has truly studied himself to understand how mystical experiences and yoga are related. This vast conversation brings a deeply historical lens to the ancient practices of yoga and how we can perhaps relate to them now.
Scott Johnson - January 2020
If you like this podcast then also listen to Scott’s conversation with Danny Paradise, who like Matthew is interested in yoga as a mystical experience.
- #011: Joey Miles ‘This book is to help you sit like a mountain, so that when you see the big mountains you’ll know what to look for’. Scott talks to Joey Miles, an authorised level 2 and highly inspiring Ashtanga yoga teacher, about how yoga has evolved through his life.
Joey came to yoga in 1998 and since that time has become one of the most loved and influential Ashtanga yoga teachers teaching in the UK today.
Before yoga, Joey had previously pursued the circus, martial arts and physical theatre. On graduating from Goldsmiths University, he began assisting Hamish Hendry at Ashtanga Yoga London and for 3 years he practised and assisted daily. During this time, he spent 2 or 3 months every year in Mysore practicing with Pattabhi Jois and Sharath.
In 2004 he was authorised to teach by Pattabhi Jois and he then taught daily Mysore classes from 2005-2008 at Triyoga in Primrose Hill, London. In 2009 he relocated to Hebden Bridge and set up Ashtanga Yoga Leeds with the intention of supporting people’s daily yoga practice, this has now been running for eleven years.
Alongside the more traditional ashtanga path, Joey has studied and practiced Iyengar yoga for fifteen years under Alaric Newcombe. Whilst mixing styles is often frowned upon, he finds the change in approach to be remarkably helpful in his personal practice, for allowing variation, and giving support to a wider variety of students’ needs.
Joey’s teaching is rigorous and playful and his intention is to bring clarity and emphasis to sound alignment within the ashtanga system thereby demonstrating unity among different schools of postural yoga.You can find out more about Joey here.
_____________Blending Yoga Traditions - Joey Miles
Scott and Joey have known each other for over ten years and have been friends for the past eight. They have a connection that bonds them outside of yoga too. They are both fathers and have a love of dance culture.
Scott and Joey spoke in December 2019 where they were both teaching at Purple Valley and have a deeply personal conversation. Joey shares openly and honestly about how his life has evolved through practicing yoga from a young age and shares about his evolution. He talks about how his contemplative practice developed and how his yoga practice, particularly Ashtanga and Iyengar, has evolved through blending both their traditions in a highly insightful and focused way.
'Joey is so articulate. He is ability to share information his so rich and we could have gone on for another hour. Joey's insights on practice are inspiring and the way he talks about blending the practices of Ashtanga and Iyengar is gold. This podcast is essential for those thinking of how to move beyond the strict approach to Ashtanga yoga. Joey's story is of an inspiring inquisitiveness to practice and life.'
Scott Johnson - January 2020
If you like this podcast then also listen to Scott’s conversation with John Scott, who was also one of Joey's early teachers.Joey talks about: how he first experienced experienced being contemplative through talking, questioning and debating ethical dilemmas as a child. experienced rave culture as transcendental. realised that yoga and meditation was a way to move away from the rave culture to experience transcendence. got involved with the Pegasus Youth Theatre. at 17 started practice yoga every day from a book. how he felt well and connected because of practice. how he travelled to Nepal and was exposed to Hindu and Buddhist culture. how he started to notice how people listened. how he was touched by the mountains. how he discovered circus arts and it became a meditation for him. how he was fortunate to have great teachers before him to study from. how important it was to learn from people who have integrated practice into our culture. how we teach to people in their lives. how practice changes as we practice for longer. how he started Ashtanga yoga how he had faith in his teachers as he progressed through the ashtanga yoga practice. how he started Iyengar yoga. how Iyengar challenged him in whole new way. how he learnt the Ashtanga yoga practice 3 times over. how he learns to read his body. how he has had a sitting practice that has run alongside his yoga practice. seeing yoga and meditation as the same thing. how he sees how yoga plays out in relationships. how he sees yoga playing out in his life. how developing a home practice is one of the most important things working with Iyengar teachers is important to develop their postural yoga practice. how joey sees the contemplative life. Show Notes
- #010: Ann Weston Scott talks to Ann Weston, a UK based yoga teacher and teacher trainer, on her 62 years of yoga practice. Ann began her yoga practice at the age of sixteen in 1957. She has been a quiet pioneer of yoga in Britain since that time, quietly practicing and sharing to others what she has found to be so beautiful in her life. Yoga. Ann still teaches classes near her home in Watford and has for the last 26 years taught relaxation at an NHS cancer hospital. You can reach out to Ann directly here
_____________62 Years of Practice - Ann Weston
In this rich and warm conversation, Scott and Ann talk about how yoga has shaped Ann's life since she began practicing back in 1957. Ann has never rested on her laurels and has always kept moving to see what's possible in her life. She has navigated all the major explosions in yoga from the 1960s onwards. Ann shares how she met all of this while raising a family.
This is a classic Stillpoints podcast. A conversation that inspires through the story of one person who has practiced for over 60 years and has always had a deep passion for yoga. Yoga practitioners and teachers should listen to Ann's story as it harks back to a time before most of us were born, before the big explosions we know that have catapulted yoga around the world. Ann talks about the explosions of yoga in her early years that most of us are unaware of.
If you like this podcast then also listen to Scott’s conversation with Danny Paradise which also looks at the practice from a long term stand point.Ann talks about: how she first met Scott. how yoga first landed for her when she was a mother. what she was like as a young girl before yoga. how she started her first yoga class in 1957 and really loved it. how she had a family in 1963 and her life changed. how she learnt from Richard Hittleman on the television in the early 1960s. how these were the first yoga classes on a screen. how she began moving into teaching with Diana Lang in Sunita PranaYama Yoga method. how her training in yoga was strict. how she then had to learn to teach in adult education. how she was able to balance her teaching and family life. how she moved into teaching in the British Wheel Of Yoga. how this way of teaching broadened her knowledge. how her life is broken down into a wider context. how in 1973/74 she elevated her teaching. how there was an explosion of yoga in the early 1970s. how her teaching was effected by this explosion. how she moved into a sense of responsibility for her students. how she moved into residentials in the late 1970s. how she met her first philosophy teacher. from the millennium she feels she has evolved again. how now she has found real peace with her yoga how teaching relaxation to cancer patients in the NHS has really grounded her. how she feels fulfilled from all her practice over the years. Show Notes
Mr Voss - Unkown.
Lyn Marshall - Unknown.
Diana Lang - Unknown.
Angela Macdonald and June Baker - Unknown.
- Scott talks to colleague and fellow yoga practitioner Jess Glenny, a London based yoga teacher and educator, on her lifelong dedication to movement practices. Those were the days my friend We thought they’d never end We'd sing and dance forever and a day Jess is a long term and highly skilled yoga/movement teacher, facilitator and therapist specialising in teaching people how to practice with hypermobility. She brings a personal depth of knowledge to the experience of being hypermobile, dispraxic and autistic, shining a light on how these conditions interact with yoga practice and life. Jess runs Greenwich and Woolwich Ashtanga yoga self practice classes and specialises in teaching people with hypermobile conditions. She also leads courses, intensives and workshops nationally. Jess also has a book, the Yoga Teacher Mentor, coming out in January 2020. You can find out more about Jess here. Jess also has a highly informative blog here
_____________Movement Through Life - Jess Glenny
In this deeply personal conversation Jess share moments of her life that shaped the way she practices yoga and movement. She is incredibly open about her dyspraxia, hypermobility and autistic journey and shares intimately how these have impacted her life. Her courage in meeting these conditions head on shines through and is a deep inspiration to others. Scott and Jess also share their journey of trust as they recollect how Jess felt able to be comfortable practicing in the Stillpoint Yoga London self practice room.
This personal conversation is inspiring, particularly for those who are working through the same conditions that Jess brings up. Jess' story is one of facing the challenges she found head on, in a beautiful and inspiring way.
If you like this podcast then also listen to Scott’s conversation with Laura Graham-Dullaert
Jess talks about:how she already felt embodied through dance from age just 6 and how that was truly important for her. how she was told that this movement was wrong how she discovered her dyspraxia from an early age. how she draws on different types of practice to make sense of her experience. how she first found out that she was hypermobile the differences in hypermobilty syndromes. the process of having hyper mobility and how it’s not linear. how Ashtanga yoga really helped her understand her body through the movement principle. how she came into the Stillpoint room and navigated her relationship with Scott by asking for space and not be helped. how she navigated her way back into an Ashtanga yoga self practice room. how she now navigates her needs now. how practice is about feeling. how more approaches outside of yoga is needed. how what she needs in relationship to her autism. how this turned into listening to others needs. how dancing has been the thread that has run through her life and that has allowed her to thrive. Show Notes
Scott talks to Danny Paradise, one of the original Ashtanga yoga teachers and pioneers from the 1970s, about his life and practice in a vast and wide ranging conversation.
Danny Paradise is one of the longest practicing western practitioners of Ashtanga yoga,. He began studying with David Williams and Nancy Gilgoff in 1976 and became a pioneer of the method through the late 1970s, 80s and 90s. He brings a wide ranging perspective to the practice and teachings of yoga and has developed his own unique approach to teaching the practice. Danny is deeply influenced by many other spiritual and mystical traditions.
Danny has inspired countless students and teachers over the years and was one of the first teachers to deliver Ashtanga yoga workshops in the UK in the 1980s. He continues to teach globally to this day.
Danny lives in Hawaii and you can find more about him and his teachings here
_____________Create Your Own Way
In this incredible conversation Danny shares with Scott his journey into yoga in the 1970's and how he became the inspiring teacher we know now. The 1970's was an incredibly fruitful time for spiritual traditions and Danny shares this in a beautifully open way. He shares the little known story about how David Williams found yoga, how they all practiced together in those early years and the fascinating people who surrounded them as they learnt the practice. This conversation is such an incredible journey into another time. Danny also shares his movement into teaching yoga and the mystical traditions which are now a major part of his life. He believes in people finding their own path, that yoga is a tool for you to find your own way through life. He encourages us to become truly independent.
This is such a rich conversation, sharing yoga history with deep teachings. It's one that you can listen to again and again....
Danny talks about:his way into yoga was through martial arts. how yoga was a dance for him. the amazing story about how David Williams found yoga by going to the Atlanta Rock festival and a teacher called Tom Law. How he first met and practiced with David Williams and Nancy Gilgoff. meeting Cliff Barber who was an old yogi in Maui. how the practice was meditation. how right from the beginning it was about self practice. how they learnt the ashtanga series very quickly. how he moved into teaching how he started teaching in Goa how he started to be influenced by others things that came into his practice. how he had deep structural change that deeply changed him. how Shamanism became a deep part of his practice. his own realisation that yoga and receiving information through indigenous spiritual knowledge. how he sees yoga as a devotional science. how he connected with Buddhism his connection to Egypt and why he uses egyptian movements in his classes. how to bring this type of awareness to cities Show Notes
Scott interviews David Keil, a long term SYL friend and collabarator, about his life and evolution into becoming one of Stillpoint's most loved visiting teachers and a highly sought after yoga anatomy educator.
David Keil is a yoga teacher, yoga anatomy educator and entrepreneur who is changing the way we integrate with and learn yoga anatomy. He has written a yoga anatomy book, called Functional Anatomy of Yoga, created a set of highly successful yoga anatomy online courses, he facilitated a yoga research project assessing the yoga asana practice on physical health and injuryand has also just launched a groundbreaking new anatomy learning tool called 3D Muscle Lab.
David lives in Miami and travels globally teaching yoga and anatomy. You can find more about David's work here
_____________Owning Your Practice
Scott gets under the skin of David Keil, looking deeply into David's journey from starting yoga at 15 through to becoming, what Scott calls him, one of the most skilled Ashtanga yoga teachers and yoga educators teaching today. David has taught at Stillpoint Yoga London since 2010 and in this conversation shares his journey through yoga practice and teaching in a beautifully open and honest way
David's skill has always been to be able to help find people's agency in their yoga practice. This podcast get's behind why that is, how David ultimately sees practice and why we love him here at Stillpoint.
The conversation covers:how David got in to contemplative practice through self hypnosis/meditation. how David used these techniques to change his school grades. how David got into yoga through practicing Tai Chi. how David began Ashtanga yoga how David started his yoga anatomy workshops how David met John Scott. how David moved to studying in Mysore how David looks at his own practice. how David's practice has been a contemplative process what David wants to get people to understand through teaching anatomy how David helps people to take responsibility for their own yoga practice
Scott talks to Caroline Taylor, a long term SYL practitioner, about how she has navigated her yoga practice since the time she started in 2012. Caroline has been a practitioner of Ashtanga yoga since 2012 when she first met Scott after walking into Stillpoint Yoga London as a beginner. She joined Stillpoint at the time just after Ozge Karabiyik had passed away and has been an integral part of the community since then.
Caroline works as a highly skilled clinical psychologist, based in Brighton. You can find out more about Caroline and her deeply powerful work here.
_____________A Transformative Pathway
Scott and Caroline talk candidly about their relationship as teacher and student and how both have grown as a response to meeting each other. Caroline's story is of courage as she found Ashtanga yoga incredibly difficult right from the start. But from the first words she spoke to Scott in the Stillpoint room to now Caroline has shown deep courage in the way she has moved and navigated her yoga practice and life.
Carrie also shares how how persistence allowed for her to meet and transform the way she saw her body. It transformed her in such a way that it influenced the way she practice her work too.
Carrie's story is a wonderful take on how moving through difficult layers of practice can turn into something transformative.
The conversation covers:Caroline's way into contemplative practice. Caroline's time at Bangor University. How she used the Ashtanga practice to land her in her body How Mindfulness wasn't helping her. How she started at Stillpoint How challenging she found yoga practice How she transformed because of her yoga practice How she then found how mindfulness re-invigorated her life. How feedback really helped and re-inforced her How she connected to Ozge even though she had passed a few moths before. How her practice transformed the way Caroline served her clients as a clinical psychologist. Caroline shares ways she helps her clients using principles she has learnt from yoga. How practice is deeply personal. How John Scott helped her to not stop.
Scott talks to his friend Ian Cheney about Ian's evolution from an Ashtanga yoga practitioner to a KPJAYI authorised teacher.
Ian runs an Ashtanga yoga Mysore programme in Melbourne, Australia. He has been friends with Scott since 2013 and taught at SYL before his move to Australia. Ian was first introduced to Ashtanga Yoga in 2002 and after many years of evolving his own practice he felt the urge to teach and began an apprenticeship with Gingi Lee at The Shala in 2012. The following year he undertook his Yoga Alliance 200hr Teacher Training qualification with his principal teacher, the world renowned John Scott.
In 2014 he travelled to Mysore to practice with Sharath Jois. He returned each year and in 2017 Sharath gave Ian his blessing to teach Astanga Yoga as an Authorised teacher.
Ian taught principally in London until 2016 when he began teaching internationally. He has taught in various countries including Germany, China, Bali, Italy and the Netherlands before settling in Melbourne.
You can find out more about Ian here.
_____________A Broader Perspective On Practice
Scott and Ian enjoy a conversation that covers Ian's yoga teaching life. Ian has worked deeply with both John Scott and Sharath Jois as teachers. Ian talks about this nuance and the evolution of his movement from a student of John's to a student of Sharath and how this helped him create a wider perspective on practice.
The conversation covers:How Scott and Ian met. Ian talks about how he started yoga. Ian talks about working with Gingi Lee in the Shala both as a teacher and student. His first view of Mysore was negative. The changing nature of his personal practice. Yoga practice as enjoyment or a spiritual practice. How he has negotiated the recent controversy in Mysore regarding Pattabhi Jois. Broader perspectives on yoga practice
Scott talks to Liz Lark about her life. Scott and Liz have been friends and colleagues for nearly 15 years.
Liz is one of the foremost and most well loved teachers of yoga in the UK over the last 30 years. She has written 8 books on yoga and brings a sense of creativity, fun and beautiful intelligence to the teaching and sharing of yoga. She continues to teach nationally and internationally and is on the faculty of the Yoga Campus teacher training program.
You can find out more about Liz here.
Yoga As A Creative Process
'I saw an angel in the stone and I carved until I set him free.'
Scott and Liz have a wide reaching conversation that spans her practice and teaching life. From her early practice years, where she worked with pioneers Derek Ireland and Radha Warrell to where she now mentors yoga teachers, Liz shares beautiful insights into how Ashtanga yoga evolved in London and the UK. She also shares how yoga has evolved for her and how she helps others to find their own creative process through her own ongoing discoveries.
The conversation covers:How Scott and Liz met. Liz talks about how she began yoga. Liz talks about working with Derek Ireland and Radha Warrell at the legendary Practice Place in Greece learning Ashtanga yoga. How people had to travel to find yoga when she was younger. How Liz started teaching yoga. Liz’s relationship with her teacher Derek. Liz’s memories of Derek’s death in 1999. Working with Gingi Lee at the Sangam. Liz’s movement away from Ashtanga yoga. How yoga has became a deeply creative process for Liz. How Liz finds herself now.
This podcast is like a little history lesson of the early UK and London ashtanga yoga scene. It also captures the evolution of a wonderful and inspiring free spirit, which Liz totally embodies.
Yoga Shala’s Mentioned
Scott talks to Maria Jose Pantoja who between 2009 and 2013 was one of the most consistent members and teachers at Stillpoint Yoga London. She turned from one of the most beautiful practitioners into one of our loveliest ever teachers. Maria was loved by everyone who was part of our community. She moved back to her native Mexico in 2013
Remembering Precious Times
When do you get the opportunity to reminisce with someone who was there at a deeply meaningful part of your life.
Scott and Maria have a moving conversation about the early years of Stillpoint Yoga London (between 2009 and 2013) and their relationship as teacher, student and friends. These were beautiful times. A yoga space finding it’s place in it’s early phase, yoga students and teachers being part of that growth together. The conversation brings up lost but incredibly special memories for both of them.
Scott and Maria talk about:Maria’s evolution into Ashtanga yoga Her part in the early years at SYL while studying for her PHD. How she became a teacher under the guidance of Scott and the late Ozge Karabiyik. Her memories and deep friendship with Ozge. Her reaction to Ozge’s death in 2012. The impact from her moving away from the UK in 2013. The deep trust she has
This is a really lovely podcast. You’re perhaps left with a deep appreciation of the love and respect that Scott and Maria have for each other.
Scott and Laura talk deeply about how they’re relationship has evolved over 8 years. They share how they met, the shift of their relationship through teaching and Laura apprenticing at Stillpoint Yoga London, how they both navigated the death of SYL co-founder Ozge Karabiyik and then moved into becoming colleagues and dear friends who still goof around together.
Laura also talks candidly about how the practice has changed for her over the years based on a condition she has called marfan syndrome. Her practice turned into an investigation and because of it she became a deeply gifted and insightful yoga teacher. She also shares openly about the open grief she shared on social media regarding the death of her father.
Scott met Laura in 2009 when Laura stepped into a self practice class he ran near his home in Kent. She quickly recognised the power in practicing Ashtanga yoga regularly and became a integral part of Stillpoint from 2010 through to when she left in 2018.
Laura left Stillpoint in 2018 and moved to Margate. She continues to teach yoga there and in central London. Find out more about Laura here.
Show notesYoga Akasha Marfan Syndrome Laura’s Instagram around the death of her father
In a beautifully revealing conversation at the Purple Valley Retreat Centre in Goa where they were both teaching, John and Scott share intimate moments of their lives.
The teacher/student relationship that has evolved between John and Scott over the years has turned into friendship. One where they deeply support each other's work, aren't afraid of having challenging conversations but they can also have a beer and laugh with each other.
John talks about developing his deeply profound Ashtanga yoga teaching with his first wife Lucy Crawford in the first decade of the millennium, how he moved through the death of two of his yoga teachers, how emigrating twice challenged him greatly and both John and Scott share how their personal relationship has evolved over the years. They also both remember the late Ozge Karabiyik, who had a deep impact on both their lives.
John Scott is a world renowned teacher of Ashtanga Yoga. He has been practicing for 30 years and travels the world sharing the method. www.johnscottyoga.com
Scott met John Scott at a yoga workshop in Oxford in 2002. He left knowing he'd found his teacher. Since then Scott has traveled far to work with John, training deeply with him and Lucy Crawford in 2008/2009 on their 2 month teacher training. Stillpoint Yoga London was established in 2009 as response to the teachings Scott and Ozge Karabiyik received from John and Lucy.
Interesting fact: Stillpoint Yoga London is named after John and Lucy's 'Stillpoint' retreat in Nelson, New Zealand, which they established between 2006 and 2010.